Category Archives: The Cuttings Calender

In a Vase on Tuesday – A Casualty

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It’s like buses. You wait for ages for one, then two come along at once! So close on the heels of yesterday’s long awaited “In a Vase on Monday” post, I can’t wait till next week for the next one!

It comes, though, virtue of an “accident”. Some of my stems of Echinops had escaped their support. I’m ruthless now, and since they showed no desire to be caged up again, they had to be cut back – flower buds and all.

However, my conscience is always salved, if any material can be recycled in a vase for the house. These stark buds seemed to lend themselves to a simple display. I chose a collection of glass medicine bottles, with one stem in each. It may be simple, and not as frothy as my rose bowl, but gives the poor buds an extended life, giving a bit of pleasure indoors.

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I wonder if they’ll flower!

In a Vase on Monday – A New Rosebowl.

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I had to join in today!

I have just treated myself to a rose bowl. I have long thought about having one, not just for roses, but for any flower display. It seems to me to be a perfect solution for displaying many types of flowers, keeping them well supported and displayed. After scouring several local charity shops, I even had a choice of two. I plumped for the simpler, beautifully cut glass bowl.

Of course, the timing was perfect, coinciding with the first flush of roses, so what better way to christen my new bowl.

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I picked a bloom from each of my roses currently in bloom, not wanting to deplete the garden display too much. They sat in the bowl quite well behaved, and I filled out the gaps and softened the overall posy with sprays of Alchemilla mollis. How beautifully it combines with the roses! And how good it smells good too!

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I can see the bowl getting much use!

I’m joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who started this meme and faithfully shows us her beautiful and imaginative arrangements every week. Please pop over and see her contribution this week!

In a Vase on Monday – But a Day Late!

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My very first Dahlia!

I’m so impressed with it that I wanted to show it off, by joining in with Cathy, at “Rambling in the garden” and her meme. I do hope she’ll forgive me for being late!

Like so many of you, I’ve become very fond of cutting flowers from the garden to bring indoors, with the result, I wanted to try growing some this year, specifically for cutting. I’ve never grown Dahlias before, but thought they would be ideal, to grow in pots with this aim in mind.

While strolling past a nearby florist, earlier in the year, I noticed baskets full of summer flowering bulbs for sale. Two dark red ones instantly appealed to me. This one is “Natal”, a pompom dahlia.

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It’s turned out to be an absolute stunner, I hope you agree!

Sadly, the other hasn’t amounted to much. The tuber wasn’t the healthiest, although it did shoot, but it has just become mollusc fodder. Which is the way my other pots of flowers for cutting – Ammi majus, which I adore, and have been desperate to try, and Didiscus “Blue Lace”, a new one on me, which looked interesting, scented with pale blue umbels – have ended up.

But, at least I have my dahlia – and some sweet peas!

So back to the vase!

I just cut one stalk, which had two beautiful flower heads on it. There’s still another two left, with loads of buds in waiting. I thought the dark chocolate coloured foliage of Cotinus “Grace” would set them off beautifully and provide a bit of a prop for the single stem. It did need a bit of lightness, though, to alleviate the darkness, so I added some silvery blades of Miscanthus “Morning Light” and then came across some stems of Astrantia, which were white, with similarly coloured splashes at the base of the flowers. Should pick up the dark red shade perfectly! Funnily enough, the whole vase blends beautifully with the decor in the dining room, complete with complementary candles. Cathy will hopefully appreciate the props!

Oh, and the sweet peas came indoors, too!

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The Cuttings Calender – December ….and the Calender!

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Well, I managed it! A year of continuous vases in the house, cut from the garden! It’s been a delight, both in the doing and the viewing! I did think I might fall by the wayside, especially towards the end of the year, as material becomes more scarce, but I was surprised by my own imagination. And I was helped by the inspiration from fellow bloggers who contribute to Cathy’s weekly meme “In a Vase on Monday”. Cathy’s blog is “Rambling in the Garden” – most enjoyable and inspirational, so please, do go and have a look! Seeing what others achieved gave me many ideas. So thank you all!

My December vase had to be the Christmas one. I had to include the Christmas necessities of Holly – both green and variegated – and Ivy – again variegated, complete with their berries. I chose to also include some Christmas Box (Sarcococca). Sadly, the traditional red element was lacking. I struggled to find many red berries in the garden. They must have all fed the birds, since they had been there earlier in the month. The only red element I could find were two holly berries and a couple of sprigs of Skimmia “Rubella” buds. Never mind, I had the props to finish it off, in the form of some Christmas pot pourri and a beautiful hand made card. And our colour scheme helps too! I must confess to using the language of flowers, in a bit of a sentimental moment, by adding a sprig of Myrtle for good luck and one of Rosemary for remembrance.

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Earlier in the month, the vase was decidedly more pastel, using the newly blooming flowers of Coronilla “Citrina”. These flowers are beautifully scented and their leaves are a lovely glaucous blue, so I chose some creamy lemon variegated evergreen leaves to set them off, in the form of Pittosporum “Silver Queen” and Elaeagnus “Limelight” to accompany them.

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As the last vase faded, I was faced with a bit of a problem. It would be several days before I could get into the garden in daylight to concoct the next vase (I’m no lark!) and no way could this vase last. Then inspiration struck! What could I pick from the doorway? Our front porch is overwintering our olives and myrtle, the latter sporting some magnificent juicy, black berries. So by the light of the hallway, the follow-on vase was concocted! Ok, a modest little number, but a pleasing little vase nonetheless!

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To round off the year is the “Full circle” vase I showed in my last post. It’s based on the first vase I did, in my little milk bottles, using sprigs of Sarcococca, but this time with a few added winter blooms. Standing proud at the back, are scented sprigs of fresh Lonicera fragrantissima and spicy Chimonanthus praecox alongside the delicate Coronilla again. On the sidelines are a beautiful sprig of Mahonia japonica with its tiny daffodil-like flowers and the ever flowering blue Campanula. In centre stage are some berries, including the cheeky tongues of the Euonymus berries – I just love them!

And this time I found a suitable prop in the form of our brass armillary, displaced from its normal site by the Christmas decs. Somehow it seems appropriate for a New Year vase!

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And finally, the proof!

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My Cuttings Calender for 2014!!

Here’s to 2015’s!

The Cuttings Calender – November

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Oops! It’s nearly the end of December, and I’ve just realised that in the battle of home improvements v Christmas preps, I forgot to post the November edition of the Cuttings Calender.

Now, I don’t want any of you wondering if I’ve fallen by the wayside, so better late than never.

It’s starting to get harder now, with fewer blooms around, so November started with the last of the floral stragglers and ended with evergreens and berries.

I love the winner for its colour scheme of silver (foliage), black (berries) and purple (berries and flowers). The only flowers still blooming were good old Astrantia “Buckland”, which I twinned with the silvery foliage of Pittosporum “Silver Queen” and Astrantia ludoviciana. Sorry, there was also still a few blooms of Verbena bonariensis, standing proud, so they started the purple. Down in the woodland I was enamoured by the matching Callicarpa berries and Muscari flowers, so I wanted that effect in the vase too. What better contrast to all of this than black berries, supplied by Ophiopogon “Nigrescens”. So cool!

There were other contributions, despite the slowing down of offerings.

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Centre stage in this vase has to be the winter flowering Coronilla “Citrina” flowering alongside summer flowering Alchemilla mollis. Crazy! Astrantia is still going strong, golden ivy leaves blend in with the flowers, and the ever flowering Campanula (not sure which one but it loves our garden!) provides a cool blue contrast.

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Don’t the vases seem to flow from one to the other? Here we have the Coronilla and the Campanula again, this time with more silver variegated Pittosporum, but this time with a splash of warming pink, from the Cyclamen.

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Now we’re getting more seasonal! Some good evergreen leaves – Sarcococca and Ivy – a beautiful sprig of Jasmine foliage turning gold and pink, with the last of the red berries and some red Cornus stems. I added some black “full stops” with some ivy berries and a stem of seed heads from Anemone japonica.

A difficult choice this month!

So sorry this is so late. December’s will be due any day now!

And I hope this does not appear too rushed. I’ve just been lucky enough to be nominated for a Liebster award for blogging, so I’m off now to ask and answer questions, and to compose my acceptance speech! 😉

The Cuttings Calender – October

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The star of the month!

Yes, you have seen this before. This was the vase I prepared before going off on our hols, in “Sun, Sea and Sand“. I was looking for a vase that would still be going strong – or, at least, strongish! – when we came home. And it did what I had hoped! Choosing berries, seed heads and grasses, that would die gracefully, rather than collapse, certainly worked. I do confess that part of me wanted a repeat of the red berry vase I did in September. I did love that, but the simple white roses with hydrangea, pipped it at the post.

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This, my little experiment, you’ve also seen. This little vase was a sample of a cyclamen and viola flower, from my trip to the nursery, to see how they would perform in a vase. The viola flopped – literally! – but the cyclamen lasted well. Sadly the stems are a bit on the short side for its use as anything other than “posies” for example.

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Now this was me trying to be clever! I’d salvaged these three jars, which had once contained some chilli relishes – a Christmas present to “Mr. Chef”. They have such a lovely chunky shape. They stack as well! I had long envisaged them, with flowers, being used together as a table display. The Grass Garden was producing a prolific patch of Aster frikartii “Monch”, which would give me plenty of lilac flowers for cutting, so these jars seemed the ideal receptacle. The table, at this time, is out of action, so I had to make do with a window ledge. I used the golden foliage from a Euonymus as a contrast to the lilac, in the two outer jars, and the silvery grass, Miscanthus “Morning Light”, in the central jar, giving a bit of height and softness. It would look better on our new table, though!

image The surprise, late flowering Jasmine, was a must for a vase!

I feel October was not my most productive month, vase wise. But who’d be without a holiday in the sun! Despite so few vases to show, my stream of displays is still continuous. Perhaps the longevity of the “holiday” vase is to blame! Next month, I hope will be more productive. Let’s wait and see!

The Cuttings Calender – September

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Sometimes simplicity is best!

This was my favourite for the month. I loved its freshness, and was enjoying the late burst of pure white rosebuds, nestled amongst the lime green flower heads of our good old friend “Annabelle”, yet again. And it was also, my first foray into Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”.

Mind you, it was a close run thing! Roaring into second place, was my warm, rosy wine vase I created for my “Last of the Summer Wine” post, out of the dying embers of the garden.

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It was quite a concoction of wine coloured flowers, buds and grasses, seed heads and red berries, freshened up with some simple white Anemone “Honorine Jobert” and Rosa rugosa flowers. The wine tones were provided by the flowers of our unknown Sedum, Persicaria amplexicaulis “Firetail”, the buds of Skimmia rubella, and the wonderful, velvety flower spikes of Miscanthus “Ferner Osten”. Other grasses were also used in the making of this vase. Seed heads were provided courtesy of Crocosmia “Lucifer”. The red berries used were from our Rowan tree (again, unknown variety) along with the hips of two roses – the fat juicy ones of Rosa rugosa and the smaller, goblet shaped ones of Rosa rubiginosa – complete with their leaves to provide bright green and blue green foliage respectively. Quite an autumnal display!

I must share with you my landmark of earlier in the month. Six vases in one day!

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You probably recognise several of them carried over from August, but there’s a couple of fresh ones, in there.

First, my jug of flowering herbs,

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with mint, lavender, hyssop, fennel, borage and purple sage.

Second, more rosy tones,

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with Persicaria used again, this time complete with leaves, complemented with the favourite wine combo of Cotinus “Grace”, and Miscanthus “Ferner Osten”. You can also see the red blades of the grass Imperata rubra, blending beautifully.

Other offerings this month;

A cool blue composition image

More sweet peas,
this time with rosemary. image

A single white rose. image

Buttercups and Daisies. image

And finishing where we started,

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the same vase, minus the long gone roses, fading away like a sepia photo!

The Cuttings Calender – August

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And now another roundup of monthly vases!

This “Study in Purple” has stolen the award this month. It was a “composition”, rather than a “plonk” or an “accident”.

What was available? Well, lots of blues and purples, as you can see, so that was what I selected. The rich purple phlox, “Nicky”, has been flowering for ages now, so I was keen to use it, along with the wonderful, structural flowerheads of Echinops – a gift, so name unknown. They have the most amazing flowerheads – soft purple, when in flower, fading into steely blue orbs, before they become seed heads and disintegrate. I didn’t want to let this flower pass by the vase! And the supporting cast? Dainty, lilac Thalictrum delavayii, dots of purple Verbena bonariensis, and spikes of the grass, Melica “Atropurpurea”. A spire of Veronica features in there, too. The golden flowerheads of fennel were added for contrast, and to soften the overall effect. Foliage provided, courtesy of our good old purple sage!

The other contenders?

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Despite this being a definite “Plonk in a vase”, in its defence, the composition was a considered one! Start with the pinky-red rose “Braveheart”, which is the same shade as the pink in the honeysuckle, Lonicera belgica and add a creamy white rose to pick up the other colour in the honeysuckle. I rest my case! Lovely, but a bit wayward!

The sweet peas are still doing their thing.

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And, of course, Hydrangea “Annabelle”, still delights us with her presence ….

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…. both with and without “Mum”!

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And this “vase” is definitely worthy of the “A+E” selection. The story is, that the front of our house is in definite need of attention, so before the painter can move in (i.e. “Mr. Chef”), all the planting had to be hacked back, including a patch of lavender. O.K. it had become somewhat sprawling, but it still grieved me to cut it back and discard it. After all, we have a wood burning stove, and what better way to dispose of it all! However, it’s still a bit early, so I saved some in a basket, to sit in front of the stove, till that “glorious” moment arrives.

And already September is starting to show its promise!